Yemen's Houthis seize airport, airbase in key port city
Militants loyal to the Shiite Houthi group have seized control of a civilian airport and a military airbase in Yemen's western port city of Al-Hudaydah, a local official said Tuesday.
"Militants stormed Al-Hudaydah's airport and airbase without encountering resistance after having besieged several of the city's key sites since Thursday night," the official, requesting anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.
He went on to stress that the Houthis had also managed to capture "key security sites" in the city.
The Houthis have long sought to control Al-Hudaydah, capital of the western province of the same name.
Possession of the port city will allow the Shiite group to exert control over the movement of oil tankers through the strategic Bab el-Mandeb waterway between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.
Since September 21, the Houthis have been in control of capital Sanaa, which they took following weeks of mass protests that ultimately prompted the resignation of prime minister Mohammed Basindawa.
The Shia Houthi movement first appeared in 1992, taking Yemen's northern Saada province as its main base of operations. Several rounds of subsequent fighting between the group and the army have left thousands dead on both sides.
Yemen has been dogged by turmoil since pro-democracy protests in 2011 forced long-serving leader Ali Abullah Saleh to step down after 33 years in power.